It is not easy for any person to run a local business. Because it not only involves constantly keeping your customers happy, but you have to increase the number of customers, grow, become big, compete with rivals, bigger rivals, and most importantly, stay updated about all the new ways and digital trends related to marketing a business. Because the pace at which the trends are evolving is increasing.
If you see the picture of the past two decades, technology has grown by leaps and bounds. It has made some businesses globally renowned ones while others have faded in time. Have a look at a couple of the important changes in these 20 years:
Previously customers used to search for precise listings of businesses in the yellow pages, but then came the individually customized websites for each business.
About a decade after that, consumers began talking about local businesses on social media platforms. The interactions between the consumers and the business became a norm.
Even as the local businesses are yet to grasp the full advantage and usability of the social media platforms for their progress, the world is witnessing another big change in the marketing landscape of local businesses. Just like the previous big changes, the businesses that respond early to this new change are going to benefit the most.
So what is the latest Big Leap in Local Marketing?
Previously, it was those big physical books of Yellow Pages that listed all the information of the local businesses. But now, similar such listings are being done on websites owned by third-parties. All the physical information has gone digital, available to everyone around the world instead of only local people.
Business websites and social media haven’t faded away, but a prominent thing is that people are increasingly finding local businesses on third party websites. For every single interaction on the website, four are happening on the third-party listing sites, forums, maps, review platforms, etc. So you can see that ideally, every local business should completely monitor these platforms for their own business information, but not even half of them are doing it.
Today’s consumers are relating businesses with the information they get on third-party websites. They will believe whatever they will read about a business even if it is wrong. Thus, it becomes vital for every business to exercise total control over their information on all the third-party listing and review websites.
You may think this to be a daunting task to manually know, update, and maintain accurate information on more than a hundred listing and review sites. But a new solution is emerging to overcome this problem – APIs. These software will precisely do this gigantic task for you while you get free to do other important tasks for your business.
It is best if the streamlining and updating of the business information right from Google to local review and listing sites is done automatically instead of manual work because human error is a natural thing but even small misinformation can harm the business prospects.
In the beginning, the listing sites took only some basic business information, e.g. name, website, address, and work hours. But today, it has expanded to so many things, consumers want to know if you have any parking available at your stores, is there any generator facility in case of electricity failure, food menu for restaurants, etc. and consumers are looking for real-time updated information.
If you have just added a new product to your catalog, your business name should turn up the first for any consumer search for that product instead of any rival business. If that doesn’t happen, you will just see potential customers going towards your rivals, do you want that to happen? Plus any incomplete or wrong business information will lead to bad customer experiences which may lead to a loss of business for you and a poor image of your business brand.
Another issue is that of scammers who are indulging in various malicious practices ranging from stealing customer identities to posing as a business themselves. They take advantage of businesses with a weak online profile control and siphon-off business, give wrong business information, etc. Who would want to lose business in such a way?
Change is the only constant, and before the next change in local marketing hits you, it is imperative to master yourself in this current trend of listing websites. Getting the services of APIs like Review 360 will greatly benefit your business and give you total control of the online profile of your business.